Los Angeles, CA – Police announced Friday that they had charged three juveniles in connection with a “swatting” incident at a Black Lives Matter leader’s home but activist Melina Abdullah said she doubted the results of the investigation and claimed officers used the incident as an excuse to harass her.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said on Nov. 12 that its investigation into the Aug. 12, 2020 incident had determined it was perpetrated by three teenagers who were connected on the social media platform Discord, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD said the three suspect were believed to be involved in at least 30 additional swatting incidents across the country since July of 2020.
Police said that search and arrest warrants were served at homes in Yonkers, New York and Medina, Ohio for two of the three suspects, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The third suspect is an American teenager living in Cyprus, Greece.
LAPD said the language used by the teens and “a review of the subjects’ online activities” showed a “racial motivation theme” behind the swattings, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The police agency said their investigators would asked prosecutors to consider hate crime enhancements on the charges against the teenagers.
“Additional cases and digital evidence are still being collected as the investigation continues,” LAPD said.
Despite the successful solving of the case, Abdullah is still furious with the police department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
She said she doubted the findings of the investigation.
The co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter also claimed police used the incident as an excuse to be heavy-handed and harass her and her family, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Even if what they’re saying is true, the police — LAPD — used this opening as an opportunity to attempt to terrorize me and my family,” Abdullah complained.
Attorneys for the Black Lives Matter leader filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court on Sept. 21, alleged that the intimidating show of force by LAPD was in retaliation for Abdullah leading Black Lives Matter protests in the city over the summer, KCAL reported.
Officers responded to Abdullah’s home in August after a 911 caller claimed a man was holding hostages inside, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Abdullah streamed live on Instagram as she came out of her house with her hands up to more than 20 LAPD officers, many in SWAT gear, who had her surrounded, KCAL reported.
Police determined that the activist had been the target of a swatting incident, when someone makes a fake 911 call that prompts an armed response to the home of an unsuspecting person, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But Abdullah was furious about the LAPD’s handling of the emergency call to her home, which occurred amidst nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, KCAL reported.
“It was not accidental,” she said. “They were not coming to quote-unquote keep me safe. They were coming to evoke terror. They were coming to terrorize.”
Abdullah was the victim of swatting twice in September, the same week that she filed her lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPD said the swatting at Abdullah’s house on Sept. 29 was orchestrated by the same teen suspects.
Police said they believed the Sept. 23 swatting was also initiated by the same teenagers, but said that call was not recorded, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Abdullah doesn’t believe the teens were behind the September swattings.
“It is suspicious that they are not talking about the Sept. 23rd swatting, which is the one that seems to be the most secretive with the least amount of information, where they’re claiming that it came in on an unrecorded line,” she said.